On Sunday, February 5, the Holy Church honors the memory of the synaxis of New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia. Prior to the start of Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY, the clergy and faithful greeted the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. On the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York arrived to celebrate the festal Liturgy. His Eminence was greeted with bread and salt, and the children of the parish school greeted the Metropolitan with warm words.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriest Serge Lukianov (parish rector), Archimandrite Gabriel (Pigarev; diocesan cleric), Archpriests Boris Oparin (rector of St. Joasaph of Belgorod Church in Brooklyn), Petro Kunitsky (parish cleric), Vasily Zelenyuk (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of New York City), Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski and Deacon Alexandre Sarandinaki (clerics of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ), Deacon Eugene Grigoriak (cleric of Inexhaustible Chalice Church in Brooklyn), and Deacon Andrei Silov (cleric of St. Joasaph Church).
Singing the divine service was a male quartet under the direction of Nikodim Buryakov. The festal icon, Kursk Root Icon, and recently installed framed icons were most beautifully adorned. The church was filled with worshippers, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Nicholas congratulated the clergy and faithful with their patronal feast, and addressed those gathered with a sermon on the feast, as well as on preparation for Great Lent, in which he said, in part:
"A special time is approaching ‒ the time of Great Lent, which prepares us for the feast of Christ’s Resurrection. And the Church wisely leads us through the days of Great Lent. Today is the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. In the Gospel from Luke, we hear how the Pharisee praised himself, while the Publican prayed, humbled himself in heart, and asked forgiveness of the Lord. And all of this together: this Sunday, the patronal feast of your parish, the spiritual labors of the New Martyrs, the presence of the Kursk Root Icon, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee – all of this is about humility. And we must hear this word of humility.
"None of us is a saint. But we must strive for saintliness, try to become better ‒ spiritual, more active in church. But are we trying? Every one of us can answer this question ourselves. Look at the icon of the New Martyrs. Everyone is present there ‒ clergymen, laity, old and young. They humbled themselves and gave everything to God. The Mother of God is also an image of humility. And the Publican also gives us an example of humility today. Let us also behave thus in our lives. Let us greet with humility the Lord’s Day and every day of the week and our feast days, let us attend God’s church, and fully enter a life in the Church. And we will feel in our parishes that we are one Orthodox family.
"Let us remember the spiritual labor of the Holy Venerable Martyrs Elizabeth and Nun Barbara. The mineshaft, the explosions: a first, a second, then another and another. What horror, what suffering! But Grand Duchess Elizabeth accepted all of this with humility. She prayed for all and, having been wounded herself, showed mercy in those who were with her: calming them, singing liturgical hymns, consoling them. There is an example for us: to offer help to all, to act with humility."
His Eminence called on the faithful to thank God for this feast, for this church, for the Kursk Icon, and for the example of the Publican, about whom those who gathered together today heard; he called on them all to become more involved in the life of the Church and to be spiritual reborn.
Archpriest Serge Lukianov, who served for ten years as rector during a time of difficult transition for the parish, then bade farewell to parishioners.
A bountiful festal luncheon was then served in the church hall, during which interaction between the clergy and parishioners continued.
Brooklyn, NY: Metropolitan Nicholas officiates Patronal Feast of Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church - 02/05/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina, A. Vlachos